Gov’t, PAHO advance talks on mental health, NCDs

The Ministry of Health’s Chronic Disease Unit has advanced discussions with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to strengthen collaboration at the country level, in addressing mental health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The latest consultation was held at Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown, Georgetown on Wednesday where the Minister, Dr Frank Anthony acknowledged that while work is being done within the department to combat NCDs and mental health, more effort is needed, particularly in the area of chronic diseases.

“Chronic disease is one of those areas that has generally been neglected. We have plans in place to control and hopefully reduce them as public health threats, but when you look at what’s being done with chronic disease, it’s done by doctors at clinics and not with any strategic vision in mind…and based on our mortality/mobility profile, eventually, as we’ve seen from the presentations, the burden is really on the chronic disease,” the minister pointed out.

Dr Anthony highlighted the need for aggressive implementation, expansion, data coverage, projections for the HEARTS technical packages, and the strengthening of medication logistics for diabetic care.

The health minister also emphasised the need for an effective and comprehensive data collection system for NCDs and other improvements in the area of NCDs and mental health. Minister Anthony thanked PAHO for its ongoing support in advancing the nation’s health sector.

PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr Luis Codina; Director of Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health at PAHO Regional Office, Washington DC, Dr Anselm Hennis; Chief Medical Officer, Dr Narine Singh; Specialist, NCDs and Family Health at PAHO/ WHO, Karen Roberts; Director of Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health, Dr Latchmie Lall; Mental Health Programme Coordinator, Dr Timothy Morgan and other staff from the ministry and PAHO were also present at the meeting.